In just the past nine days, the Obama and Romney campaigns and their supporters have spend nearly $160 million on political ads. That's more than 16% of the total ad spending for this entire presidential cycle! In all, nearly a billion dollars ($984 million to be exact) was spent on ads for the 2012 presidential campaign, with just over half of it coming from the campaigns themselves.
The rest came from outside groups, which spent $435 million dollars on radio and TV ads—44% of the total ad money spent. That amount alone breaks the record for total spending (including staff and overhead) by outside groups in previous cycles. In fact, when you look at the overall amount spent by outside groups in the 2012 political cycle, it equals $1.03 billion—more than the total amount spent by outside groups in the last 11 political cycles combined.
Romney had eleven major Super PACs supporting him throughout the election; those groups spent a combined $370 million on ads. President Obama had just three major Super PACs supporting him; those groups spent $65 million on ads.